My Diary #091

Dear Tigey,

WordPress updated to 6.2, Elementor updated as well, and now all my page editing UI elements are black and pink with purple borders. I like it. A lot.

Also, this is what you look like when scanned with my new scanner. I like how these pictures are so “soft”.

Entry #091 (Apr 02 2023)

Table of Contents

Scanning the room for…
ට  School
ට  Work
ට  Life
ට  Games
ට  Plushie of the Week #89
ට  Song of the Week #66
ට  Writing Prompt of the Week #9
ට  Memory Snippet of the Week #73
ට  Last Year’s Entry #42
ට  Dreams

School

Compared to last week, not much really happened this week at all. However, I did complete and officially submit my Sophian application, eventually electing to say No to the offered housing arrangements with the understanding that I would find my own place. That  being said, one thing I did learn was that renting a place in Japan often comes with a lot of up-front fees (agency cost, key money/thank you money, etc, each one usually close to one month’s rent on its own) that usually means that the very first month of rent balloons to around 3-4x the monthly cost. “Thank you” money? Key money? It’s a really, really, stupid system. That being said, there are places that waive those fees at times, so it all depends what I want at the end of the day.

Time sure has flown by, it feels like (and was) a scant few weeks ago I was enumerating the first few weeks of class, and now we’re already almost at the end of the semester. Next week is our last week of non-review classes, which means next Tuesday and Thursday are my last days with homework (in the form of translating and annotating a Japanese text) due. I will not miss this as it is a ton of work to squeeze in in between work and other things, and has been taking time away from blog work. Not that the texts haven’t been really interesting though. Anyway I’m definitely looking forward to next Wednesday and the euphoric feeling from finishing up the last bit of work for the course.

Then after that, the Tuesday after next will be our final class, which is a review class. Our final exam then rolls in about two weeks after that, and while I am slightly worried about that, I also sense I should still be quite far ahead many of my classmates and have over two weeks to brush up on my weak points with nothing else to study for, so I should be fine. I also did and submitted a bonus credit question this week for an extra (up to) 3% of my grade, so how badly can I do, right.

The study abroad coordinator also sent out more names of people going to Japan in the Fall this week, so now I know of five students from UAlberta going to Japan (2 to Chiba University, one to Shizuoka University, one to Meiji University, and me to Sophia University), and three coming from Japan to UAlberta (one from Waseda University, one from Sophia University, and one from Sophia University). I sent out a welcome email to the latter three, letting them know they they could email me if they had any questions about the University of the city.

Lastly, I bought a card for my Japanese professor, as I do for all in-person classes that I’ve taken here at UAlberta in the last 5-6 years or so. Probably will get everyone else to sign it on the last day of class.

Work

Work was fairly busy this week, but not in a notable way, just lots of little things to process. Due to all the fob activations, I ended up closing 644 tickets last month, when our ticket close numbers per person are usually somewhere between 100-200 tickets, so that might have set some sort of unofficial team record, but about 550 of those tickets were 1-3 minute tickets. I also finally caught up with vetting all the resumes in our backlog (and I’m ahead of the other person who is doing them as well as my supervisor, which shows just how backlogged we are as a team).

Our queue monitor is also going to be away early next week, so I’ll be taking that over for a couple days (or nights, since we both like doling out tickets and starting to work on them at night). That should be a little nostalgic.

All in all, things are smooth-sailing, if rather precarious since both the MFA project and account lifecycle project, two major projects which our team is heavily involved in, are in the continuous process of being launched at the same time. I hope everything goes fine.

Life

My A3 CCS scanner, the Plustek OpticBook A300 Plus, arrived this week, and boy it’s huge. I had to move a few things around in the computer area of my living room to fit the scanner next to me on top of a box (the box for the previous printer/scanner that I have used for all my blog scans up to this point, even), but I look forward to getting very acquainted with it after school is over. I’ve done a bunch of test scans on it, and enlisted a friend (Mart) to see if he can help me figure out some decent colour profile/editing settings for it, since CCD scanners tend to give slightly whitewashed or yellow-tinted scans, and we’re comparing personal scans of the Bocchi the Rock! theme songs CD (local) since we both own it. This is an ongoing thing that will stretch into next week. The A3 scans are amazing and so is being able to nicely scan Tigeys and books to near the center page crease without more or less breaking their spines. I’m going to probably speedrun some scans over the next month or so before I leave.

I can claim this against my Personal Spending Account from work now, but I haven’t yet. I don’t think it really matters but I don’t want it to come in on a paycheque before the end of the fiscal year (which just passed, Mar 31) and possibly even before the end of tax filing deadline (April 30th) in case that affects anything. But more importantly, Mar 31 is also the final day that Sunlife, our benefits provider company, set to redeem and process PSA (and HSA, Health Spending Account) payments for the previous year, 2022, so a lot of people probably submitted last minute requests, and I don’t need to pollute that pool to get my payout for this. It can wait.

I bought a couple of cute booklets this week that I’ll probably take with me to Kyoto in May for my one month study program there, and I photographed them on top of said scanner. They were $3.99 each and I needed them for my fancy stationery collection.

Spring weather is almost here, at least according to the forecast, which has temperatures going to highs over 10 (and even 15) degrees Celsius by the end of the week, and lows above 0. Walking weather here we come, to celebrate the end of classes! To commemmorate that, the rabbits are coming out as well:

Although I feel like they came out later than usual this year, this was only the first late winter/early spring rabbit that I’ve seen so far in 2023.

The rental office called me this week, saying that they had written another letter to my next door neighbours, but now the neighbours were claiming that it isn’t them and the noisy unit is actually the unit above theirs. Uhhuh. Never mind that the loud noises are often audible through my neighbour’s front door if I walk over there while they are making it. (I technically can’t tell if they are making *all* the loud noises though, or if it’s just some.) Anyway the rental office issued the unit above them a cease and desist noise notice too due to that, so if it’s not them hopefully they speak up and fight back against it. And the noise has subsided for now at least.

I also wanted to put this picture here, a random tree.. thing on a cart that was shoved in a corner of the Fine Arts Building on campus.

I passed that tree after class on Thursday, on my way to the HMart Asian supermarket branch on campus, a ritual that I have been doing every Thursday for the last few weeks now. I pick up some bread (for my ongoing New Year’s resolution) and some other groceries there and drag it home on the train. This week, they had cilantro bunches for 75% off… so 2 bunches for $1.49 (total), where the usual price was $2.99 for each bunch. They didn’t state what the price for 1 bunch was, so I assumed it was somewhere between 75% off and 50% off because surely they wouldn’t be stupid enough to offer 2 for $1.49 but still have $2.99 for the base price individually… but nope! One bunch cost $2.99. I was royally annoyed upon checking the receipt, but thankfully the cashier was able to refund me that $2.99 while I went to grab another bunch, and he then rung both out at a combined price of $1.49. So now I have cilantro in my soup, noodles, rice, everything. Thankfully I like the taste, and I’m not one of the people to whom cilantro tastes like soap. They remind me of Singapore Hainanese Chicken Rice.

Talking about Singapore, I’ve had a few nostalgic pangs, especially this past week, to visit the island I call home again. Not that I can, since their bureaucracy still hasn’t given me the all-clear letter and I still haven’t been able to renounce my passport, but that’s alright since it would be prohibitively expensive at this point anyway with all my Japan trips coming up. Plus since I just only visited almost a year ago now, the pent-up nostalgic levels are nowhere near as high as they were back last year, when I hadn’t been back to the country for 22 years. Maybe I can swing a trip there during the winter-spring break in Japan though. It seems that I will have a two-month break (original) between the Fall and Spring semesters there, after all.

While it would mean that I would never be as free again to chill out and play games with my North American friends, I hope I can find some sort of job that will allow me to either move back to Asia or at least spend part of the year travelling there once I finish my Study Abroad and come back here to graduate.

Games

Before the Nintendo 3DS shop closed last week, I picked up a few other games, but it turned out to be from a different series than the ones I had mentioned — I picked up a couple of Etrian Odyssey games instead. I think I now have nearly the complete set of 3DS games from that franchise — I have 4, 5, Nexus, Untold, and 2 Untold digitally, and if I ever find my cartridges I’ll have their Mystery Dungeon game as well. I spent most of the earlier part of the week playing Fire Emblem: Fates, and the later part playing Etrian Odyssey IV. For that one, I had to create a bunch of characters for my party, so I basically imagined my plushies as cute fantasy adventurer girls and went running with that concept. In my front line, I have Orson the half-tank half-melee-DPS Landsknecht, Tigey the melee DPS Nightseeker, and Clara the buffer/backup healer Dancer with a modicum of dodge skill. In my backline, Ally the Medic is topping them up, and Ducky the Runemaster tosses out fire, ice, and lightning as needed.

On PC, I picked up a new Humble Bundle featuring Vampire Survivors-type games, and picked Scarlet Tower from that collection to start chewing during some downtime that I had. It.. sure has a lot of mechanics and things to upgrade. There are a couple other games in that bundle that look fun as well, and hopefully I’ll get around to them eventually.

Plushie of the Week #89 – Big Mouth Jinbesan

Since the Plushie of the Week segment in the Last Year’s Entry this week, PotW #45, talks about a Jinbe-san, it felt like a good time to feature another one of my sister’s many neurotic whales because I haven’t actually featured one in the ensuing year between that post and this one. Also see PotW #41, which contains a picture of a little tag “booklet” with the names of the other side characters seen below.

This Jinbesan was christened Big Mouth Jinbesan, because, well, he has a wide open maw. He is a keychain that was bought in Nagoya on Oct 08 2021 by my sister, in an outlet store named Libretto in Takashimaya, a department store. We’re not sure what he cost, but we’re happy to have his birthday. Here are some pictures of the excitable whale.

Front/top, featuring a Nekonbu keychain:

Other side:

Frontal grin:

Underside, featuring an Ika:

Tag front:

Tag back:

Song of the Week #66

Title: Shi Shang Zhi You Mama Hao
Artist:
Album:

This song is a Chinese nursery rhyme song, and one that I’ve wanted to feature for a long time now. I definitely struggled over whether to do it or not (since it’s “just a nursery rhyme”), and more importantly which version of the song to put in the video element block below, but I settled on that one listed there that has both Chinese and English lyrics. The title, as can be seen in the thumbnail, directly translates to “In this world, only mom is good”, and rather than being disparaging to all the other good people that the kid might meet, is more supposed to affirm that Mom is the most important figure in a child’s initial life. At least within the story of the nursery rhyme/song.

It’s a testament to how catchy the song was, that although I haven’t heard or sung it in decades, and grew up in an English-speaking environment to boot, I could still remember the lyrics well enough to search them up, even if I didn’t actually know the full translation of some of the lyrics until, well, today. We definitely sang the song in kindergarten, and perhaps in early Primary School or something, and one would hear it around Mother’s Day in Singapore sometimes, usually sung by a choral of children or something similar. However, I’ll either be in Japan or preparing to go over there by the time Mother’s Day rolls around in about six weeks or so, so I don’t anticipate having the time to blog then, and therefore here we are today.

The other versions of the songs that pop up high on a cursory Google search currently, and that I also liked very much upon viewing them, are this one, a music video featuring scenes from Pixar’s The Good Dinosaur (local), and this one, a sweet and gorgeous piano/orchestral instrumental version from New Zealand pianist Carl Doy, accompanied by lovely scenery visuals in the video itself. That one was so good that I almost let it supplant the lyrical version of the song, and instead feature the instrumental version of the song as the SotW instead. But that would be a weird deviation from my childhood memories, so instead I let that sit here as a well-regarded footnote.

Writing Prompt of the Week #9

This week’s writing prompt reads:

What pets did you have in your household growing up? How big a part of your life were they?

The only formal pet we ever had was a goldfish, and I’ve already talked about it in MSotW #37. We had a bird visitor once for a few days, but that’s also been covered in MSotW #67. So.. skip.

Next question:

Describe, using all five senses, your childhood home. If you moved around a lot, describe the one you remember best.

While I could do this, I’ve already also talked extensively about all my childhood homes — Yishun 799 in PotW #1 (the predecessor to MSotW), Yishun 723 in PotW #2, Tampines 294 in PotW #7, Edmonton 4012 in PotW #11, and even Clementi 730 recently had a little writeup in MSotW #69. Do I need another snippet featuring these right now? No.

Next question:

What role did you play in your family’s dynamic? (Peacekeeper, comedian, youngest/oldest, troublemaker, etc) Tell a story that demonstrates you playing that role.

Hmm. I was the oldest child, and now, at least, I’ve turned that into a bit of a historian role, since I have plenty of memories and experiences that I probably can remember better than my siblings (because I was older than them when it happened) and want to preserve for them and others. Also see my attempts to do things like record Dad‘s voice and memories into audio recordings last year.

When we were growing up, I guess being the oldest sibling meant that I always had influence and persuasive (or physical) power over my siblings in that, and just like every older sibling in every family ever, tried to keep them in line in my own way based on what I thought was right. I definitely didn’t always do my best but I’d like to think it worked out fine, since the three of us are on good terms and like each other’s company a lot even now that we’ve grown up. The story from MSotW #64 about saving one of my siblings when young did instil some responsibility into me that I wouldn’t otherwise have had, I think, and that is a story I would have put here but I already used it up. Hm.

One sibling story I can probably share here, as I’ll never have another place to share it, is that when we siblings were young, we were allocated an hour of game time per weekend day and that was it. As the oldest, I often got time afterwards to play around with the computer on non-game activities, and especially in Yishun 723, when my siblings were still far too young to really use the computer, this translated into me poking around Windows 3.11 and Dos 6.22 and a CD of random shareware (and possibly pirated) software and tools we had called AO55 (or A055), which I wish we still had on hand. A lot of my early computer interest came from these fiddlings, even if I also eventually just ended up on game-adjacent things like After Dark screensavers a lot of the time.

But the actual story here is that this continued as we were all growing up, so by the time I think we were in Tampines 294, and then definitely when we were in Edmonton 4012, we had a system going where on Saturday and Sunday mornings, Jon and Kel were allowed one hour of gaming time in the morning each once we woke up, which would often be before our parents. I don’t think I myself was allocated an hour for that though, largely because I usually had the computer to myself in the late afternoons and through the evenings until night time instead. But I’m not sure, I might have gotten some formal time early on. Either way, formal time or not, I still always got up to watch them play in the mornings.

In fact, if we woke up early enough, we could usually stretch it over the allocate two hours simply because either our parents hadn’t woken up yet, or because they wouldn’t know exactly when we started playing, as long as we didn’t make too much noise as the computer was in the main hall in both houses. I would usually let the two of them play and just watch myself, though sometimes I would also take over and play a bit until they complained or something. Or perhaps backseat drive a bit. I hope I didn’t do that too much back then.

Anyway, Jon usually had no trouble getting up, but Kel was a teenager by the time we were in Edmonton 4012, and she often loved her beauty sleep and had trouble getting up in the morning, to the point that we would sometimes just have Jon (or I) play through her time instead. Other days if Mom was up or something already, we’d have to go up and shake her multiple times and get her angry enough to finally get out of bed. Not letting her sleep in was a conflict that we had as kids for sure.

I’m fairly sure that this was eventually solved by a simple change — at some point, instead of morning games, our gaming time shifted to start at around 3pm in the afternoon, with each sibling getting a turn and it ending at 5pm or so, at which point I transitioned into spending general time on the Internet. If we went overtime, which we still did sometimes, then that just cut into my own online time. Due to this, I remember 3pm being a significant time I would look forward to on weekends.

We usually all picked a game and played the same game through these sibling gaming sessions, and over the months we did complete (and fondly remember) several games using this morning routine, the most significant of them being Might and Magic 6, 7, and 8 (all multiple times), several Heroes 3 maps, Red Alert 1 and 2, and Age of Mythology. Arkantos, the main character of Age of Mythology, was well liked in our sibling circle for sure. NHL 2001 (and later, 2004) on the PC was another game which we played a lot of, which eventually also spurred us to get an XBox 360 and play one of the later NHL games.. NHL 2007, I think? on that and complete it as well.

I don’t know if that story specifically answers the question prompt of the week, but it’s what came out of thinking of that anyway, so good enough!

Memory Snippet of the Week #73

This memory snippet article on Neopets, and what it meant to me growing up, is one I’ve been wanting to write for a long time, but kept putting off because I knew it would be a long, long writeup with several moving pieces, and difficult to write for several reasons. It needed to be done though, as I’ve written similar pieces for many of my other online games already, so a good chunk of this weekend was spent on writing this.

As a prelude to the main stories, Neopets has (or had, I have no idea as I don’t play anymore) an NPC shop system where each themed shop (weapons, armour, food, books, etc) had a long list of items that it could stock. Each item on the shop list had a rarity number (local) from 1 to 100 (there were items with higher rarity items, but those weren’t obtained from the shops), which governed how often it would “restock” in the shop, and the notation for this was r + number, like r99 meant an item with a rarity of 99. Restocking (local) was a term to describe how the items appeared in the shop — I believe there were several incarnations of this over the years, but the most familiar system I was with went as follows:

At the top of every minute, a check would be made on the Neopets server to see if shops would restock on this minute. If they did, items would start appearing in the shops, starting from the shops with the lowest ID number (1) all the way to the highest ones (somewhere in the 70-90 range). The game would roll to see what items appeared in the shop this cycle, so the lower rarity items would appear more often, and often in multiples, whereas the higher rarity items… anything around r80 still likely appeared around once an hour, anything around r90 maybe once every couple hours. Anything around r95, maybe once or twice a day. At r99, we would be talking about maybe one or two r99 items per day, period, if a shop had ten or twenty potential r99s in its item pool that could appear. The frequency of any one specific r99 appearing was not documented, but I estimate it at about one copy spawning slightly more frequently than every month or so. And at r100, well, they were supposedly five times as rare as r99s, I think there was an article stating this when that rarity number was first introduced, but they could literally go for years without ever spawning a copy of the item, to the point that there would be rumours about important or highly desirable ones having spawned.

This shop restocking process took a few seconds, and would vary a bit due to lag, so the early shops would restock pretty much in the first 1-3 seconds of a minute (if it were a restocking minute), but if you were primarily waiting on an item in a shop with a higher ID number, it could take anywhere from 10 seconds to 30 or 40 seconds or even longer. However, even then there were tricks that you could use. For example, because all the shops either were going to restock that minute together, or were not going to restock that minute together, you could also just refresh the first shop right on the 1 second mark to see if there was a stock refresh, and then you’d know whether your desired shop later on in the queue was going to refresh that minute or not.

This was important because there was also some sort of fuzzy limit to the number of times you could refresh per hour, per few hours, or per day, after which you’d be locked out. It wasn’t a firm limit, and there was no formula or sure way to avoid this, some days you could get locked out for the day within an hour of restocking, other days you could go the entire day with moderately hardcore refreshing and get away with it. The general consensus was not to refresh too many times in a row or in a minute. But basically the gist of it was that there was a fuzzy lockout mechanic that was used to combat bots and also make sure most people couldn’t just spend their entire day refreshing one shop most of the time.

Also, when items spawned in the shop, they were first come first serve. Anything over a certain rarity (mid 80s?) only ever really spawned one at a time, and there was a mild captcha-like minigame (that also changed over the years) that you had to be the first to click on and complete, while also offering a purchase price that was within 25% or so of the shopkeeper asking price, in order to purchase an item. So most items that were rare and/or sold well seldom lasted more than five seconds or so at most. You could check multiple shops during a restock cycle, but would have to make a call on the fly whether something in a shop was worth buying, or if it was better to bypass it and run to one of the shops with a higher ID number to refresh that instead.

With all that setup out of the way — this restocking activity/”game” was very fun, and I spent a lot of time on this and made most of my millions here too. By the time I stopped playing I had well into the 8 digits worth of Neopoints, the local game currency, in my bank, largely from buying items from shops and selling them for a profit. I even did manage to restock (the word was also used as a verb to describe winning a buy offer from an NPC shop) an r100 or two in my time, which was a very important milestone in my Neopets career. But let’s rewind to the start

I signed up for the game on July 16 2004. My player account name was gtrjess, and my pet’s name was Lyxanie. She was a cute red ixi (fox race) pet. When I first joined the game, I did random things for a bit, before discovering and learning about restocking. Out of all the things to do, I gravitated toward collecting and reading rare books, and after I did a bit of research, I joined a “guild”. Guilds existed as a collection of accounts within the game, but they also usually existed as entities outside of the game, and most of the top pets were advertising some guild or other that they were in. So on July 25 2004, I eventually joined a guild called Spanky’s Book Club, named after SpankaroonieTwo, the top pet in the leaderboard for number of books read at the time, owned by an account named goofyspouse.

For the next couple of years, I would chill with the people in this guild in their IRC server, which was where most of them met up every day — I’m not sure goofyspouse even owned the guild per se, or if he was just the mascot, but either way it was a very chill atmosphere full of very nice and helpful people and although I was a good restocker among a number of other good restockers, I never felt any pressure to sell to them as well. Like anywhere else, there was definitely a bit of occasional drama that sprung up now and then, but nothing that really comes to mind years later, I largely have very mellow and fond memories of the place. We would help each other get rare trophies, books, and other items, solve community puzzles together, and generally shoot the breeze with each other.

Since I was pretty good at restocking, and I also had a lot of time, being in early college at the time and needing an escape from reality in the first few years of the “I know I am transgendered but I have no idea what to do” phase of my life, I eventually did get Lyxanie fairly high on the books read leaderboard as well. But in particular, there was a subset of books, called Kreludan or Booktastic books, that were sold on another ingame planet (Kreludor, and their bookshop had a different shop ID) that counted for an entirely separate side leaderboard that was released not long after I joined the guild and started seriously restocking. While the main books leaderboard involved reading potentially upwards of well over a thousand books, this new side leaderboard and shop started with only 40 books or so, and although some books were rather rare to start, none were super-ultra rare, and I was soon right at the top with a number of other people. If I recall right it was first come first serve as well, which meant that the first person to a number held the top spot, and to overtake someone you had to physically get a higher number than them.

Very quickly though, the Neopets devs started adding some really rare books into the mix. Firstly, they suddenly took three books whose rarity was in the mid to high 80s, but which had been out for a couple months already, and turned them into two r99s and one r100, spiking their scarcity and cost overnight. Soon after that, in October 2004, they added eight new r100 books, and eventually, in early 2005, one new r99 one as well. The r99 one was one thing, but remember, rarity 100 books meant that they spawned less than one copy of a book per year. Even with eight new r100s added, I don’t think any copy of five of the eight books ever spawned while I was actively or somewhat playing the game, which was all the way until the middle of 2006.

However, because I was good at restocking, I actually did manage to snag the first ever “new” r100 to spawn, at 1:12 pm (MST/MDT) on Jan 04 2005.

Oh man, that was a rush. My hands were shaking afterwards. I still count this as one of my most important gaming moments/achievements. I immediately read the book, and from that point on until I stopped playing I was on top of the Kreludan list and no one could catch me. Amazingly enough, a scant few days later on January 7th 2005, a guildmate named Brianna (bcbear18), whom I didn’t otherwise really know, managed to restock another r100 and sold it to me as well. Oddly, although no new r100 had restocked for the first three months or so after the eight of them had been introduced, two of them restocked within 3 days of each other. At one point, someone else outside the guild also managed to restock and read an r100 book, but I think they might have been missing another book that I had already read, plus I still held the tie-breaker (having reached the next highest number first).

Thanks to those two r100 books under my belt, I was on top of the Kreludan book leaderboard for most of my Neopets career. More importantly, our Spanky’s Book Club guild now owned the top spot of both book lists — the regular one, and the Kreludan/Booktastic one. There were two rather unique aspects of Neopets gaming that one never really saw unless one was in such a position. Because the game was extremely casual and catered to a lot of young players and people who didn’t really know what they were doing, the following things happened.

1. There was a Shop Wizard (local) feature that one could use to browse player shops, and it would find and return the cheapest listing of any item one entered in to the Wizard. (Well, it actually divided all player shops into 13 groups based on the first letter of their username, and returned the 20 cheapest listings of the inputted item from the randomly selected group of player shops, but that’s being technical.) People who didn’t know what they were really doing, or didn’t care for the shopping aspect of the game, would instead stumble upon our shops simply by browsing through the leaderboards and clicking on our names, and would spend their hard-earned Neopoints from various games on our stuff.

We quickly learnt that it would have been a full-time, 24/7 job to keep our player shops fully stocked if we also aimed to set our prices to be the cheapest on the Shop Wizard, as we would get traffic both from that as well as from the random people finding our profiles from the leaderboards. So what we did is that we capitalized on this, using a guild member (Foo, see below)’s profile design and graphical skills to create a storefront with links to various stores owned by the more active players in the IRC channel, and having each of us largely specialize in one or two item types, and setting our prices a little bit above “best market price”, but still within what we felt people would pay for. That meant both that we didn’t have to fill our shops as often, and also that we could help the guildmates that helped us as well by driving buyers to their stores and allowing them to sell items at slightly inflated (over “best market price”) values. That was the positive aspect of this whole setup.

2. The other thing that happened, however, was that these same people were also extremely casual and young to the point that they were often utterly lacking social graces and incapable of holding normal conversations. But they had access to a Message button, and in principle we needed to keep our mailboxes open at all times because that was also how we received trade offers from people when new books appeared. So we were inundated with inane messages from children that might have been as young as kindergarten age, day after day after day for years. Some innocent and curious, some yelling and rude, some just utterly random and incomprehensible, mixed in with all our various dealings with more serious players of the game. I constantly had to clear the message inbox as there was a limit to the number of messages that it could hold, and it filled up fairly fast with all the spam.

This was eventually what made me tire of the game and leave. But in the meantime, it was so utterly weird to not only me, but Jon and Kel, who sometimes shared the computer with me and would read some of these messages (or play some of the Neopets minigames) too, and I eventually enlisted their help to collect and collate all these messages that I would receive in giant text files. Thanks to that and thanks to them, I present this horror of a page as an addendum to this MSotW article, Fan Letters from Neopets. The current generation of Internet adults likes to look down upon the current generation of Internet children for their indiscretions and cluelessness, their spam and their idiocy, and heck I do this quite a bit too. And we’re not wrong. But we were no better when we were young.

Back in the guild all during this time, there were also a good number of people who came around to the IRC channel to socialize and hang out rather than seriously try for any of the leaderboards too, and so the overall feeling of the place was more of a large online family than anything else. I received lots of help from them and I’d like to think I gave out lots of help as well. Like most of my other game writeups, I’m going to dedicate a section to naming many of the guildmates that I remember or have found references to, though I won’t be giving most of them hover text entries unless they also otherwise appear in my dream diary. A lot of the time their IRC handles or game handles overlapped with their real names too I think, or at least sounded like real names, and a lot of time I’m not sure which one to put down to best remember them by anyway, I basically like all these people though and remember them fondly.

goofyspouse/Ray — He owned the top pet (Spanky) on the book reading leaderboards and the pet which the guild was named after.

jenniferledbetter/Jennife‎r — She was kind of.. I’m not really actually sure, but I think she was the de facto manager of the guild and kept things running. That was what I thought of her as anyway!

mama_maia/Debra — She was one of the older people in the guild and basically the guild mother/matron heh. She had her own kids in real life too and would share stories about them sometimes. She maintained the guild website’s database of books and collectibles and I occasionally helped her with that by sending her lists of things. She gave good snugs.

djbochner2/Robin — She was basically the second mother of the guild/IRC server next to Debra. She also helped out with a ton of stuff, though I don’t remember her role exactly.

o0o_opiate_o0o/Fooey – She helped out a lot with creating graphics for things like our guild store page, and html/css code for people’s profiles.

qbureau/Fran – I didn’t know (or don’t remember, perhaps) too much about exactly what she does but she was also heavily involved with the guild and writing up rules and maintaining peace. And she ran a guild forum that we eventually had too. I remember people like her, Foo, Robin, and Debra often helping out people with things like pet trading (dangerous without a few trusted people to help and slightly dangerous even with people who knew what they were doing) in order to get rare trophies.

natbug_00/Nat – Natbug was a friend around my age who I was often hyper with in chat. She also gave good snugs, specifically bugsnugs and bughugs, and I think we were good online friends for quite a few months when we were both active.

unholydorkleech/Leechy – Another person I considered a close friend, she was nice to speak to and hang out with in IRC.

There were many other people I remember as well, especially once I started digging into logs — purple_puppy123 (Rache‎l), jennywren35 (Wren), gigabit12163 (Max – he was from Singapore, I think), neomaniac1603 (BJ), rsflux (Flux), empress_of_pentacles (Flora), anniqa (anniqa), whitedove1964 (Dove/Brenda), amir_derakhs_gurl (Lana), thebooklovingfools (Roxxy), iluvthecountry (Chad), goddess_the (Iggy), teehee89 (katty), rachaellampa (a second Rache‎l), flarnloop (Flarn), krazy_killer_2001 (Jordan), bobosa13 (Steffani), arcanegoat (Quint), ilikepickledolives (trurogurl), katiep, kittykadaveral, oaktoad, glospencer, Cocomonkey, GriffinLady, Hawk, Pau‎l, Ryan, Nilty, Nilla, kimiko1981, smlwieber, zarah, andraste, praymond15, and several others buried in logs for sure. Some of them are probably overlaps too, as I don’t remember everyone’s Neopets versus IRC username.

I was a cat, Jesskitten, so the bug (Nat) would sit on me (she would change her username to bug_on_kitty or something), and I would paw at the doves (Robin, Dove, Griffin, Hawk), curl up in Debra’s lap, and yabber at anyone who came in. That was a normal day in the slice of life world that was Spanky’s IRC chat. Good times. Plenty of people collected random things too, so it was always nice to collect and hand out little gifts for people. For myself, I collected varieties of snowballs, which were random items that you could get from various games and random events around the site, as well as carrot and bunny items, of which I amassed quite the collection on a side account. I- it’s not like I’m still doing that to this day.

This company helped me through some of the darker times of my life in the mid 2000s. Chronologically, it occupied a time spot between my 3rd and 4th Medievia stints, and also a stint I had at a MUD called The Gathering (local), where I was briefly an admin, and which was where the gtr part of my Neopets username came from. Whoa, it seems like that MUD is still around and active. I wrote one of the earliest adventure/xp zones there, the Dragondale Sewers, on my god character named Melyene. Maybe a story for another day though.

Finally, there were a couple other important memories and notes that I wanted to leave down here while I’m writing an extended essay on this game. Firstly, in hindsight, there were definitely some.. predators around, though the older members of the club tried to make sure the younger members were fine. But there were way too many impressionable kids playing that game, and the guilds spilling over into IRC realms and such mean that a lot of game interactions were potentially out of reach of the game admins even if they clamped down on such things in game. For example, I remember one guy who constantly tried to send PMs to me looking for sexual roleplay/cybersex over IRC. Seriously, I was a young adult by that point anyway but he could easily have been doing that to the girls who were clearly underage kids hanging out with us in the server as well. And there indeed were a couple people like that over the weeks and months I was there who were publicly banned, as I remember. I don’t remember if it was the same person, though.

Pictures were also exchanged now and then (something I did not partake in since I did not reveal that I was transgendered at the time), but I saved and (often) labelled some of the pictures that were exchanged with the poster’s name, and much later on when I was more worldly, I would find that some of those pictures were simply lifted from some other page on the Internet and clearly were not actual pictures of the person who posted them. Was this something to do with being socially anxious or shy? Or were these creeps who pretended to be young girls to get near and befriend other young girls for nefarious reasons? It’s hard to say.

Secondly, one person whom I didn’t highlight in the earlier list, because she deserves a section of her own, was a girl named Maple, whose account name was kougra_sweets_14. She swept into our IRC lives in late 2005 or early 2006, and (I believe) she was terminally ill in some way, I’m not sure I know exactly what from, though I did see in logs that she had to be airlifted to a hospital at one point because something in her lung and esophagus ruptured. She was basically in the Children’s Hospital and such in California for large segments of her life, and played Neopets a lot while she was bed-bound as a way to escape and be free.

Despite being chained to her bed by the unfairness of life, she was extremely smart for her age — although she was supposed to be in the first year of high school in 2006, which would have made her about 16 or so, she had to drop out due to health and other unspecified reasons, so she had to be transferred to an independent study program. But she had been in a private Christian prep academy for junior high until the year before and had been an honours student there, and apparently had also finished up history classes for high school as well as taken a couple of first year college courses in biology and psychology and gotten A+’s in them, by the time she and I really started chatting with each other in February or March of 2006.

She was not necessarily the street-smartest person out there, but that was pretty much a given considering her life circumstance, and that only made me want to protect her more. Not that most of us were a lot better as late teenagers or young adults either though, I cringe at my old self a lot when going back through old logs. We enjoyed a good friendship, chatted a lot, and played a lot of online Scrabble on Yahoo! Games, and somehow or other ended up in a relationship where I spoke to her mom, Jill, through IRC as well, and she offered to pay for me to have a Neopets Premium membership if I would continue to take care of her sweet daughter and keep her company. I ended up agreeing to this and also provided Maple with a bunch of Neopoints every month as an allowance of sorts to spend, which to me was a very unfair deal for her and them, but according to Jill, Maple not only appreciated my company and friendship a lot but also couldn’t really do the restocking thing effectively on slow hospital Internet, and there was really no other way in Neopets to make good money, so they were very happy for it too.

The middle of 2006 was also when I started to drift away from Neopets and gaming for a little bit though, as outside of the depression chewing at me, I was finishing up my studies at NAIT and had started a two-month work practicum at the University of Alberta, which ended in June but then quickly also turned into my first job with Brad over at UAI. I pretty much got swept up with that and eventually left Neopets altogether. I only chatted with her a little bit between July and November or so of 2006. Not nearly enough, much to my regret, and the last exchange I had with her that I can find was on Nov 07 2006. The next year, I received news from Jill that Maple had passed away on Apr 06 2007. I promised that my thoughts would be with her for a very long time, and they still are. Although I never met her or spoke to her in person (I believe only Debra and Nat from the guild ever called her and spoke to her), I carry her memory with me.

Last Year’s Entry #42

My corresponding diary entry from last year is My Diary #047. This was published on Apr 03 2022.

Unlike last year, I haven’t received my official award acceptance letter yet, only the unofficial notification, so they must be a little behind next year. It’s supposedly arriving next week, though. I also had forgotten that I had briefly planned to apply for Sophia last winter. I ended up applying for NUS again instead, even though I ended up missing both deadlines due to bureaucracy ineptitude on the Singapore government’s end.

That shampoo and conditioner set I coincidentally bought one year ago is close to running out now, which leaves me with a bit of a dilemma — what do I do with my remaining four or five months here? Buy a new bottle and toss it halfway? Buy a small bottle? What about conditioner? Argh. I need to get a haircut though. I plan to do it two weeks from now, after my final class (not counting the exam).

It’s nearly the one year anniversary of this Last Year Entry segment! I’m getting to the point where the initial purpose of the segment, to touch up old entries and bring them up to date formatting- and administrative-wise, is almost done. And what will happen after I reach one year? Will I react to two posts a week? I do like that it forces me to read old posts and remember things I had forgotten, but a lot of weeks there won’t be anything to write about. But maybe that’s fine anyway.

Dreams

I had some really memorable dreams this week, on the 30th and the 31st! Both of them were dreams that will likely be rated an 8/10 and above, with the one on the 31st being a 9/10, largely on the strength of making friends and losing them again, and visiting amazing dream locations, as well as being vivid memories in general. And putting them together with my other dreams from the last two weeks means that I’ve had a succession of good dreams that have been worthy of Highlight Awards lately, and together they have made me look forward to sleeping each night, just to see what else my built-in mental AI can come up with.

Mar 29 2023
  • Snippet: There was a scene involving me travelling from Edmonton and out into the prairie area around the city. It was an overnight trip in a car or taxi, with the feeling that there was some sort of deadline or time limit in the morning when I would meet Mom and my siblings again. There were large landmarks in the background as the vehicle travelled on.
  • As part of the dream journey, I was given a software package worth $4.99 with lots of little applications for free, about 20 or 30 of them in all. I installed them all except one of them which was 150 gb in size. There were also other apps that I needed to buy separately.
  • Snippet: Later on, there was a woman who was both a teacher and a fortune teller, and she was on stage with the members of the band Take That, on a show that was highlighting them and how successful they were as a mega-group of boy idols back in the late 90s and where the individual members were now. They all watched a music video of the group performing some song, then they had the teacher return the five men in the group a grade-school level grammar homework assignment from page 21 of some textbook. Two of them had gotten an average mark, two of them did a little better than that, and one guy did the best out of the lot, nearly getting a perfect score. However, it turned out that he had actually made a mistake on one of the questions that was worth most of the marks, leaving out a pronoun that was supposed to be there, but the teacher gave him full marks for that question because she had also made the same mistake on her sheet. The two members tied for the lowest score had actually both gotten that question right but were marked down for it.
Mar 30 2023
  • I travelled to Japan in advance of my study abroad trip in the Fall. While there, I first had a weird sideplot after I arrived at the campus that involved a bunch of difficult games going on in different buildings. The one I saw was a prison warden simulation where the warden was really brutal to his prisoners, killing some of them, and skimming funds off the top of the budget, and the prisoners were in the middle of a prison riot that usually ended with his death. I could apparently join as the warden to try to survive, or as an investigator who could follow a smell and some rumours and find some prisoner bodies behind a dumpster behind the prison.
  • The game/simulation itself had about five parallel tunnels leading out from the cell area on the right toward the front lobby and exit on the left, and one circular character sprite representing a guard standing at the left end of each one. Prisoners were on the right side and pushing left, and it was all the guards could do to defend their spots. The prisoner character sprites were red from anger, while the guard character sprites were red from blood. There was also a group of 5-8 icons travelling together, that was the warden’s group, and it could defeat and suppress the prisoners it ran into, but it also had a hit point bar that was steadily dropping, and whenever it reached zero the warden himself would die. There were far more prisoners than he could handle and he, as part of the computer AI, never stopped to heal between fights, which was why he always lost.
  • Later on, I visited a school shop on the campus, which was set on the ground floor of a building and had a ceiling but no walls on three sides. The only wall was on the side with the cashier. The proprietress had left the shop for a little while though, so I just looked around a bit. Most of the shop had snacks and such, but one section was devoted to shelves of books, and I noted with surprise that they were largely English books, mostly romance novels. I did see one section with five or so Fighting Fantasy gamebooks on the top corner of a shelf, and was surprised at that too as I didn’t own any of them. One of the books even seemed to be a double-sized book, and was titled something like Orgrimmar: Singapore. Opposite from the bookshelf was a desk staffed by two guys, which had brochures and other things on it. They were recruiting volunteers for the army.
  • After that, I visited the school library, which was a huge, single-floor room with warm, incandescent lighting. The walls were lined with desks and computers and I knew that two of the computers had Epson 346 scanners that I could use while here, so I was casually looking for them, though I never did find them. That was fine though, and I chatted with someone else over Discord who was also visiting Japan and was using his own scanner to scan CDs.
  • I also came across about 200 plastic chairs or so arranged in rows and columns in the middle of a wide open space in the library, each chair about 1.5 meters away from its nearest neighbours, and all facing the same direction. Apparently this was a very popular use of the space, and plenty of Japanese people were seated in the chairs, quietly reading books. Sometimes someone would accidentally make some sort of noise, and several people would hiss a “Shhh” at them. I did sit down with a book behind a girl and proceeded to read it for a minute or two, but what I actually wanted to do was take a picture of this and put it on my blog.
  • I had chipped the fingernail on my left hand and it was annoying me, so I eventually took my leave and got onto a train that left the area. Before leaving though, I passed a weird scene where an elder sister shut a younger brother into a manhole in the ground and kept him there by sitting on top of the manhole cover, while the younger brother cried within the darkness.
  • The train took me on a route that reminded me of the large expanse of space between the Yio Chu Kang (N10) and Khatib (N11) stations in Singapore, and I could see Sophia out the train window over a lake where the reservoir usually would be on the right side of the train. I pulled out my phone here, set it horizontal against the glass window portion of the train door, and took a picture of this, before realizing that the phone camera’s flash was set to On instead of Off and being thankful that I hadn’t tried to take a picture in the library. I turned it to Off and took another photo.
  • Later on, in a separate but related dream after waking up and falling asleep again, it was apparently the last day before some sort of school graduation, and I helped an old woman find the train station to leave the school campus area that I was on. It was an underground station two storeys down in the building that we were standing next to when we met, and we were going to the elevator down to it, but the elevator shaft doors were made of glass and so I could see a bunch of people standing across the elevator door from us that obviously just came from the train area.
  • I surmised that we would be able to reach it faster once the elevator arrived by entering the elevator doors on our side, and then leaving the elevator by the doors on the opposide side before the doors closed. I told the old woman that and she said she wasn’t sure that she would be able to cross it in time with the crowd there, but I helped her do so successfully against the crowd moving in the opposite direction, once the elevator arrived and the doors on both sides opened. As expected, there were then stairs or escalators right there that led right down to the train platform.
  • Later that evening, I was at home and Wela, who was apparently in my main Discord server, chatted and said thanks for having her and Jessica (a mutual friend from McNally) there over the past year or so, as she appreciated the chance to catch up with us and the glimpses into other people’s lives. I said they were welcome to stay and chat with us afterwards as well, but she said that the both of them would be moving on and going their own separate ways after graduation. They also thanked each other for making food over the time they stayed together in the campus dorms, and thanked me for helping out with dishes and chores too. I woke up after this feeling a bit sad.
Mar 31 2023

Dream 1

  • I was living on the 4th floor of a large dorm building with some friends from what I believe was the GEP, since I remember Allen being there at least. There were other strangers mixed in too though, and the floor was half-empty, specifically we were all in rooms on the southern end of the building and the rooms on the northern side, accessible via a corridor that formed a looping square, were largely empty. All our apartments were individually fairly big, slightly larger than even my Edmonton 205 apartment, and looked like they could easily hold about 4 people each.
  • Anyway, one day, people on the first three floors were chased up by maintenance staff who were renovating the entire building except for our floor. They were going to be doing this for about a week, and had told all the students to go up and use the facilities and empty rooms on the 4th floor for the time being. But there were still a lot more students than empty rooms.
  • The scene started from me returning from some lower level bath facility with a towel draped over my head and neck, climbing the wrong staircase due to the confusion of there being so many people around, and ending up on the north side of the corridor loop near the empty rooms. Except they were no longer empty, as people were wandering in and out of them. There were benches along the sides of the corridor that people were sitting on, and Allen was in a glass-enclosed communal billiards room on that north side, looking really happy as he played a game on it with someone, since there were usually not enough people and so we never really came all the way north to visit that room.
  • I continued eastwards to where the passage turned south, then followed that too toward the start of the cluster of rooms that were already occupied before the influx of the cleaning refugees. Along the way, I passed more benches with people on them, and someone asked if I knew if we had a VCR player somewhere. I said we did, and pointed them to two wide and flat machines seated on a cabinet a bit further down the hallway — a CD player seated on top of a VCR player.
  • When I reached my room, I found the door open and two people in it, one boy and one girl, both University-age young adults. I had left the room door unlocked but closed and Chinese music playing from some speakers when I went down to the baths, and they had both entered in the interim, and put their bags on separate wooden chairs while waiting for me. They were both Chinese as well, so due to the contents of the music, they started speaking to me in Chinese, but after exchanging a few words we all found that we were more comfortable in English, so we swapped over to that.
  • They were basically a bit hesitant but obviously wanted to ask if they could stay here, so I offered for them to use this place as a temporary staging point, they could leave their stuff here and stay/rest here overnight as well. As long as they didn’t mind my noisy neighbours. I told them that I never locked the door during the day unless I went out of the building, and I told them I trusted them because they already had plenty of time to steal my stuff if they had wanted to.
  • The boy eventually started playing a game on a small, square wooden billards or carrom type table that I had — he put down some marbles and tried to shoot them into the holes on the side of the table. Unfortunately, the table was incomplete and still being built. In particular, the rims were not done, and I had built one and a half sides that were joined together but had not completed all four sides yet and certainly had not attached them to the table. He still used it to block the side of the table that he was shooting toward, so that he could bounce off that side and try to land the marble in the corner hole, but after the ricochet his marble flew out my front door, and into and down the stairwell that I usually used to climb up to this level.
  • The marble ended up down on the second level of the building, and I told him to please go retrieve it. He did so, leaving the room and picking up the marble with his mouth before coming back up. I moved the half-constructed side piece back around so it was blocking the side of the board that was facing the door.
  • Fast forward a few days, and I had become fairly good friends with my two guests, though they were still a bit shy. But it was time for them to return to their rooms the next day. I made them a dinner with fluffy white rice, soup with potatoes and carrots, and some meat with gravy for their last evening here.

Dream 2

  • This dream included some elements and locations that I’m sure I had seen once before, though it isn’t a dream that has been written down in the journal. It started off in an extracurricular art club in school, where all the 30 or so people who chose this club or class went to sit at tables of 4 or 5 and created things according to previous themes. In my previous incarnation of this dream, I joined the table at the back right, meeting three other people I did not know, and generally having a good time with this. In this incarnation, however, several girls that I knew had joined me in this club or class out of loyalty and friendship. I remember Gillian, Yiwen, and Valerie, but I don’t remember who the others were or if they were all from Dunman as well.
  • There were six of us however, whereas the tables only fit 4, but that didn’t stop us, as one of them dragged out a table and put it in the center back of the room, and placed six chairs around it. We all settled down in them. As the only one with experience in this class, I mentioned that the table was too small for us though, since it was only the size of one of our chairs too, and doubly so since half the table was bent upwards at an angle — we needed completely flat table space for our assignments.
  • I suggested moving two school desks in and joining them together, and the others agreed. Someone lifted up the small table and removed it, while I carried in the first school desk and placed it down. I noticed that the rubber leg holders of the previous table were not cleared properly and were floating in midair even though the table was itself long removed, so I cleaned that up as well. The second table then soon followed and we sat down as our group of 6. The teacher didn’t seem to mind.
  • I had a premonition about the start of the club or class on the 3rd week of school, where our teacher would announce that our team, which we had apparently called Team Blossom or Team Snowflake or something really similar, had won the group contest that we had spent the 2nd week of class doing, beating out all the other groups in class. Apparently some of the girls in my group were really good at arts and crafts, and I was happy about this.
  • For the moment though, the rest of the group was still trying to decide on our actual team name, and even though I knew what it was going to be from my premonition, I didn’t add any suggestions and let them organically settle on what it was going to become. I wondered if we had a group project this week and whether we would find out if we won it at the start of the 2nd week’s meeting or not.
  • There were also some scenes from a larger plot in school. We were students, but had some mild superhero powers to help defend the school with against a group of villains that occasionally attacked us. Because this was a rehash, I knew the gist of the plot — they had announced that they were going to pull the fire alarm at 2:30 pm, and I knew that in the confusion, and because we would all be spread out around the school during that time, they would kidnap someone (I believe it was Justin from Dunman) and hold him hostage for a bit. I also knew that he would be okay in the end though and that we needed this scene to play through for the plot to progress, possibly because he would come back with some vital information or something, so I didn’t reveal any of that.
  • Sometime during the day, after art class but before this happened, I was walking along an elevated outdoor path along with Satinel and two others. We passed by a building about 20 meters away, whose entrance was down below the elevated path, two storeys below us, but the building itself was 8-10 storeys high and towered above us. I pointed that building out to Satinel, and said that that was an arcade. Or rather, it contained a singular, really complex arcade machine that itself was 8 stories high and contained a lot of weird minigames. I had played it before, though I had not completed it. I asked if she was interested in giving it a try and she said yes, so the four of us went over there.
  • There were two older women at office desks situated right inside the entrance of the building, and then just past that was a small room with two or three TV monitors, a wired handheld controller plugged in to the wall, and I think a steering wheel controller. Off to the side was a mop leaning against a wall, and a doorway leading to a small dead-end room with walls that were tiled like a bathroom but without any actual bathroom facilities in it. There was also another doorway by some stairs that led up to higher levels of the arcade machine, which we would have to access later on to reach different controllers and physical minigames attached to this enormous game machine.
  • I pointed out that the floor of that side room was covered in a thin layer of water, and some of it was flowing out the doorway, and sloshed the water back in with the mop. I said that this was actually part of the early part of the game’s setup, and that the mop would be able to consume the water once the game started. I told Satinel that I would help out with it since the game was essentially multiplayer. One of the two seated women also encouraged us to start the game, especially if the room was leaking again.
  • Satinel turned on the game and the first thing that popped up were a couple other saved games with scores, from other players, but I noticed that my game was no longer there. That was no surprise, since I had last came here and played this over a year ago. The names of the current games were all cool or ice themed. I told Satinel that there were several secrets in the game as well, that would unlock skill overcaps and special attacks and more, and that we would have to figure them out and collect them as we went along. I knew two of them to start off. But before we even got that far, Satinel took the controller and pressed the buttons corresponding to the Konami code, and that apparently also unlocked a new secret.
  • The game itself was essentially a spaceship sidescroller game, and we not only flew through space but also had to maintain the ship as we went along, thus the enormous building representing the ship. At one point, we had to pause playing the game because there was a commotion going on outside. Outside the arcade building was a short path leading away from the elevated path and toward a kitchen, and some men, who apparently were my uncles or relatives on Dad‘s side, were making a fuss as they were trying to catch a small mouse that was running around in the kitchen. One of them finally forced a standoff with the mouse, staring at the mouse as the mouse stared back, and another one of them used the opportunity to line up some sort of head vice tool over the mouse’s head and tighten it, trapping the mouse and allowing it to be picked up by the tool’s handle. The mouse had an angry look on its face and smoke was billowing out from between its teeth, so it certainly looked dangerous even though it was small. The uncle who picked up the mouse didn’t seem fazed at all though and paraded it around a bit.
  • After the mouse was disposed of, there was some cleaning that had to be done along the path from the kitchen to just outside the arcade building. I noticed that a short, fat man, possibly a teacher or principal, was going to scrub the area, and I offered to do it instead. He commended me as he gave me the brushes, but the real reason I was helping him was because there were two lawnmower-like machines parked just outside the arcade that also had clumps of dirt on it, but were used for some later minigame as well, and needed to be cleaned anyway. I didn’t want him to remove the machines until they were cleaned up or something as we wouldn’t be able to play the game otherwise. I cleaned them in front of him and he commented on what a great job I did.
  • The scene rolled on, and later on I found myself in some room with some older women, probably teachers of some kind, when the alarms started going off. I looked at the clock and realized that it was 2:30 and that while I knew that the villain group had started this alarm, it wasn’t widely known to the school community, who just assumed that this was a regular fire drill. I was with Angela from McNally, and I asked her to follow me as I went outside and then proceeded to try to gather and meet up with as many of my friends (who all had some kind of vague, unnamed superpower) as possible so that we could all be together and ready to defend if anything happened. I knew it was likely that Justin was already kidnapped, or in the process of doing so, but I wanted to make sure no one else got in trouble.
  • I was broadcasting my location to my friends, so most of them found me pretty quickly, once a good bunch of the people had arrived, I led the class along a path, past students that were sitting around loitering on benches, and lined up to try to get up and through a winding tunnel into an open-air circular arena area above us. I knew that it was somehow plot-important that we got up there as well, at least according to the last time I went through this dream. Some of the students in front of us left so we could move up faster, whereas others just stood around chatting to each other, we passed a group of students all wearing the same red Arsenal soccer jersey for some reason along the way up.
Apr 01 2023
  • Snippet: I remember at one point being with an acquaintance and shooting one of two monsters from a very long range with a short bow, trying to draw its aggro so that it would come toward us where we could fight it. I was a good shot, but the arrows would run out of velocity before they reached the monster, and clatter lightly against either the monster’s hard hide or against the terrain next to it by the time it reached the monster. There was a jutting out piece of metal that looked like part of a balcony, about neck-height behind the monsters, and I managed to get one or two arrows to somehow land on that metal as well, despite the fact that it was very narrow and the arrows had to end up perpendicular from the direction I was shooting it from to land on it. Anyway I eventually exchanged my short bow for a long bow and only then finally managed to do the deed with the extra punch from the bow.
  • Snippet: At another point, I remember going to a library and buying some kind of buffs, but I don’t remember the context behind this, who the buffs applied to, or what I needed them for.
Apr 02 2023
  • Snippet: I remember sailing along the Singapore river on a ship that I sailed by myself, and stopping by a certain point next to another ship that was docked on the shoreline. The other captain and I both got off our boats, and we cooperated to defeat something or other that was in the area, before we both then went back to our boats. I waved to him as we prepared to depart, and then also did some sort of emote at his boat, at which point I discovered that emoting to boats was bugged, as the message printed in chat indicated that the boat did the emote instead of me doing the emote at the boat. I tested this again to confirm it, shrugged, and then got back on to my boat.
  • He sailed off north and east along the river, while I went back west. Not far from where we had reembarked onto our boats, I glanced south onto the shore again and saw a large dandelion flower with colourful wisps of light trailing up from it. I realized that that was a rare dragon crystal or something, and I immediately bumped my boat onto the shore, jumped off the boat, and dashed over to it just in case someone else was near. No one else was though. I picked up the flower and the rare crystal, as well as another flower that could be used as a dye component that was planted nearby. I then returned to my boat and set off again.
  • Snippet: At some point earlier on during that dream, there was something about being overseas and picking the fifth option or version when needing to select a power or person or something from a lineup of five of them. This was somehow important but I don’t remember the context.

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